E-Flite UMX F4U Corsair Impression’s (RTF/BNF)

Today’s review is of the E-Flite UMX F4U Corsair Radio Controlled Airplane. Full Disclosure time, this is the first RC airplane that I have bought and also flown so I will provide my opinions based on being an RC plane novice.

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This plane is a part of the E-Flite ultra micro series of airplanes so they are small in size and designed to be flown indoors (like an enclosed driving range) or outside in calm weather. This is because it is both a small plane and extremely lightweight so wind will push it around. The plane comes in two versions RTF and BNF ~ Ready to Fly which includes everything to get off the ground and Bind and Fly which comes with everything but a transmitter (requires a transmitter that operates off of DSMX protocol, so Spektrum or maybe JR). The plane is powered by a 1S LiPo battery that drives a brushless motor and should provide at least 5~10minutes of flight time. The plane is constructed on foam and comes preassembled and all that needs to be done is charge the battery and go if you have the RTF version. One of the unique features of this plane is the AS3X protocol, which is a 3-axis auto stabilization feature that is built into the receiver in the plane. What this does is move the control surfaces automatically in order to provide smooth flight.

I know there is probably more that I can say about the plane like spec’s and whatnot, but as I mentioned this is the first plane I have bought so I can’t say to much at this time. Any future RC plane reviews I will try to include more information.

Enough talking about the plane, let’s talk about my impressions and first flight. I went with the RTF version of the plane as I do not have an airplane transmitter and I wanted to be able to get out and fly with ease. The RTF version as mentioned before comes with everything you need to get up and running so it comes with a battery, transmitter, plane, battery charger, 8x AA batteries, and a manual. I read through the manual while the battery charged up and than plugged in the battery and started playing with the plane, limiting myself to taxing around the kitchen as I knew I would not be flying for a week. Everything worked well on the plane and when you picked it up you could hear the servos correcting for smooth flight (thanks to the AS3X protocol).

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(Above photo shows the RTF box contents. A BNF box will not have the transmitter. There is an extra battery and servo in the box that are not included with the RTF/BNF versions)

My first flight occurred over the fourth of July weekend when I was on vacation in Northern Michigan and it was a near perfect day for flying. I say near perfect because the wind was blowing at approximately 5~8mph so the plane was getting pushed around a lot in the air, which made for some pretty awesome maneuvers like hovering in place. In general the plane flew well and I was able to perform acrobatic maneuvers without issue. The only concern was landing. Now the plane had to be hand launched as it is small and won’t take off from grass/dirt roads so for landing it came down to attempting to belly land it. The first attempted landing was almost successful but I was carrying to much speed and left the landing gear on so when it hit the ground it nosed in and bent the prop shaft. This was not too big of a deal as I just bent it back and the plane was good to go again. This time I passed the transmitter to someone else and it did not go so well. The plane went straight briefly before flying full speed into the ground nose first, cracking both wings.

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(Above two photos show damage to the plane after the crashing and repairing with packaging tape.)

No big deal, all it took was some packaging tape and correcting the prop shaft again and the plane was back in the air yet again. I continued to fly it a few more times before I ran it head first into the ground finishing off the left wing (well cracking it even further at least).

Now the beauty of the the foam construction is that the plane can take a beating and is easy to repair with tape and/or hot glue. So it is very easy to get back in the air fast. If a part breaks to such a point that repairing it is pointless replacement parts are cheap. The downside is that since the plane is so new my local hobby stores are not carrying replacement parts yet so everything must be ordered online at this time from any online retailer that carries Horizon Hobby product (only valid at time of writing as things change). But would that have prevented me from buying the plane in the first place, no not really.

So overall I really enjoyed flying the little Corsair around and hope that the next time I go out flying the weather is calmer. Before then though I will need to bind my replacement plane to the transmitter as I received a replacement for the plane after all the damage that occurred (not from Horizon Hobby, this was a paid for BNF replacement).

Would I recommend this plane? Absolutely, with a caveat. I may have jumped in as a novice but I can say that this is definitely not a novice plane. Like many YouTube reviews I have seen of warbird and micro RC airplanes these are meant to be maybe a third or forth plane because they can be touchy and will stall and crash quickly. I will not say that I am some genius flier or anything but I had a working knowledge of RC planes from childhood as I often went with my dad to the various RC plane clubs, and more recently spent time with simulator software that helped somewhat.

I can say that if I get another plane it will be a “normal” size trainer aircraft with a dihedral high wing design.

I will not give it a rating as I don’t feel I have a sufficient skill level to rate the plane.

Pros:

  1. Durable construction
  2. Easy to repair with tape, hot glue, or replacement parts when needed
  3. Parts are reasonably priced
  4. Batteries provide sufficient power

Cons:

  1. Replacement parts specific to the Corsair are not easily found at local hobby stores (only valid at the time of writing this).
  2. Although batteries provide sufficient power I dislike the 1S LiPo design that is used as there is no good way to ensure voltage stays above 3.3V/Cell

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(Above group of photos so the plane as it comes before all the damage.)

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